BOOKS: TRADING PLACES

WOMEN PINE FOR OTHER LIVES IN STORIES FROM A YOUNG WRITER

IN EVERY GROWN WOman there is an inner teenage girl--an awkward, dissatisfied someone who longs to be a more alluring someone else. This sadly enduring truth is explored with affecting accuracy in Emerald City (Doubleday; 178 pages; $22.50), a collection of short stories by Jennifer Egan, whose first novel, The Invisible Circus, was published last year to critical praise and encouraging sales.

Egan's heroines spend their days fixating on other women. In Letter to Josephine, Lucy, a wealthy housewife on holiday with her husband, obsesses over a tall young woman she notices on the beach and takes to spying on. In...

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